Rice Fanner Basket, Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, 1970s

Rice Fanner Basket, Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, 1970s

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Usage conditions apply
This is a modern fanner basket made in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, around 1972 by a member of the Manigault family of basket sewers. Fanner baskets were originally associated with the growth of rice as a cash crop in the Lowcountry coastal regions in the 1700s and 1800s. West Africans who knew how to cultivate the complicated rice plants were especially valued by slaveholders. These shallow baskets were made of coils of grass and used to remove the rice grains from the husks. Pounded grains of raw rice were placed in fanner baskets so that the rice could be tossed in the air or dropped from one basket into another. Through this process, the wind blew away the chaff and the rice would be ready for processing. The original fanner baskets were much larger. Some were more than three feet or more in diameter. These modern fanner baskets are much smaller, made to be decorative and are often used in homes as platters. The distinctive Lowcountry region of the Carolinas and Georgia and the nearby Atlantic Sea Islands culture are now part of the National Park Service as the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor.
Object Name
basket, fanner
date made
place made
United States: South Carolina, Mount Pleasant
Physical Description
grass, swamp (overall material)
leaf, palmetto (overall material)
rush (overall material)
coiled (overall production method/technique)
overall: 8 cm x 44.5 cm; 3 1/8 in x 17 1/2 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
collector/donor number
African American
South Carolina
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Ethnic
Cultures & Communities
Many Voices, One Nation
Many Voices, One Nation
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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